Have you ever wondered why maybe you didn’t hear back from a company about a job when you sent in your resume? You know you were fully qualified for the position but maybe there was some sort of red flag on your resume that you missed but you can bet that the recruiter or headhunter for the company spotted it. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what a headhunter was thinking when he or she looked at your resume? What are the things that make them pick your resume out of thousands? Well we went straight to the source

The candidates with resumes that will ABSOLUTELY be passed over for consideration by headhunters are ones that have:

1) GRAPHICS: “I will immediately discredit someone who has flowery bullets or other graphics; the resume should be a list of accomplishments in a well-written, concise format. Smiley face bullet points are a no-no. Also, if I see that someone uses a “-” or “*” as a bullet point, I wonder if they know how to actually use the bullet point function on the computer,” said Jennifer Johnson, Founder of J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc.

2) MISSPELLINGS OR GRAMMATICAL ERRORS: Sara Sutton Fell said the first resumes that will be out of consideration will be resumes with any misspellings or grammatical errors.

3) THEY DON’T PERTAIN TO THE JOB DESCRIPTION: Especially those that show a conflicting mission or seem completely unrelated to the job, said Sutton Fell.

4) DISREGARD FOR INSTRUCTIONS:  Any applications that are submitted without following instructions and/or with information missing that was specifically requested will be passed over. “In my opinion, if it’s not worth it to you to do these things, you probably don’t have the type of professionalism and motivation that I am looking for,” said Sutton Fell.

4) RESUMES THAT AREN’T EASY FOR THE HEADHUNTER TO PITCH TO A CLIENT: Laurie Berenson, CPRW  for Sterling Career Concepts, LLC said headhunters need talking points to pitch a candidate to their clients so job seekers should help them out by avoiding filling their resume with boiler-plate phrases and instead, loading their job descriptions with a branding statement up top, details of accomplishments, successfully completed projects, and examples of how you excelled in your role. Your cover letter to a recruiter can offer them talking points as well, i.e., “I stand apart from my peers in three ways…” She said make it easy for the recruiter to market your background to their client. If they have to work too hard at identifying a reason why you’re a compelling candidate, he/she may pass you by for another candidate.

Or, if your presentation is not as compelling to the client, he/she will ask to interview other candidates over you. Help the recruiter by providing sound bytes about your strengths, a branding statement that sets you apart from your peers, and quantifiable accomplishments that would compel someone to want to interview you. “Answer the question “Why would I want to meet this candidate?” she said.

5) ACHIEVEMENTS AREN’T HIGHLIGHTED: “I have a list of things I look for on a resume, but if there’s one that’s most important, it’s achievements,” said Linda M. Duffy, SPHR President. “Depending on the position I’m trying to fill, I can get 300+ resumes in response to an ad. I was hiring a recruiter for one of my clients a couple of months ago. Recruiters all pretty much have the same job description: source candidates, post ads, review resumes, interview candidates, etc. If that’s how your resume reads, I’ve got another 300 that read just like it. I don’t need a job description; I need to know how you did it better than the other 300 candidates. How many jobs did you fill? What’s the length of service of the people you hired? By how much did you cut recruiting costs or the time it takes to fill positions? That’s what will set you apart from other candidates.”

6) COVER LETTERS: Duffy says cover letters are a complete waste of time. She said “If it’s important, put it in your resume. I have 300+ resumes to review, and I don’t need to read that extra piece of paper or email.” Callie Miller, Recruiter for High Profile, Inc., said when we review resumes we look for consistent work history, tenure and the formatting of the resume (this includes spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors). “Usually, we do not pay much attention to cover letters or overly wordy resumes.”

7) OBJECTIVES SECTION: Not all headhunters may agree but objective statements are not important. “The objective is obvious, to get the job you’re applying for. Objective statements tend to waste precious space on the resume,” said Rhiannon Poore, Marketing & Communications Manager for FGP International. A summary can be better than an objective, says Alan Fluhrer, CEO of Fluhrer & Bridges, a boutique recruiting firm in Los Angeles.
“They can both say the same thing, but an objective may pigeon hole a candidate in the eyes of the reader. A summary can offer more broad appeal. It also focuses on the readers needs.”

8] CLAIMS: That is, no, ” I’m a strategic, clear thinker, I can work alone or in a group, I can…” Make it FACTUAL, says Peter Bell, President of Peter Bell & Associates. Instead of strategic clear thinker say something like “I have managed a group of five, as well as acted alone as an in-house communications department.”

9) THE LENGTH OF A SHORT NOVEL: TWO PAGES, tops, no more, ever, says Bell.

10) FLUFF: Lindsay Olson, a recruiter for Paradigm Staffing, defines “fluff” as the adjectives everyone uses to describe themselves. “Words like detail-oriented, hard-working, multi-tasker are invisible to me. Content is most important. I need to see the basics – dates, employer, position and then I want to know what the candidate did in the position. Accomplishments, numbers, percentages, dollar figures etc. draw my attention. If the person is in the service industry, I look for client names and industry specialties. These are the main points that tell me if the person has the type of experience my client is looking for. Once I can see it, then I look deeper,” she said.

“What separates the winners from the losers in the job search process is that the winners are able to show the value that they have brought to their employers. Most resumes are just about duties and responsibilities. Chances are we already know, by virtue of your job title, what you were supposed to be doing at work. Without showing accomplishments on your job, we have no way of telling whether you were marginally competent or a superstar. To break away from the clutter and to stand out from the crowd, a resume needs to feature achievements and results,”  said Bruce Blackwell, Managing Partner  for Career Strategies Group.

Once you’ve proven yourself well qualified for a job during the interview process, you have to start asking yourself the tough questions. Do you have a strong desire to work for this company? What if they don’t offer quite as much money as you’d like? Is there a way to ask for a higher salary without alienating the employer?

It’s normal to feel nervous. But you can learn effective negotiating skills that will help you get what you want, need, and deserve in terms of compensation.

1. Understand Benchmarking

You don’t want to waste your valuable time on a company that is never going to pay you what you’re worth. This means you need to understand how employers decide their salary levels and adjust your job search accordingly. Companies use a variety of benchmarking tools. These include comparing pay rates with:

  • Average pay at other companies in their industry
  • Average pay for professionals with your level of experience and education
  • Average pay for professionals in your field in their area of the country

Most employers who are interested in great talent will be in the upper quartile of their market when it comes to pay. However, employers have also figured out that paying significantly more than their competitors actually doesn’t motivate employees to stay over the long term. So, don’t expect to be able to negotiate for significantly higher pay than the norm – no matter how qualified you are.

2. Wait for It…

There’s an old saying “The first person to bring up money, loses.” Starting a discussion about salary prematurely sends a signal that you don’t place a high priority on being a good fit for a company’s culture – you just care about the almighty dollar. In the same way, if a recruiter brings up money right off the bat, it’s a good idea to smoothly change the subject so you can fully demonstrate your qualifications before talking about your salary requirements.

3. Negotiate Performance Pay

An employer who really wants to hire you but has limited resources may offer a lowball figure with the excuse “This is what we can afford right now”. If you want the job, ask if they would be open to discussing a performance based bonus. You could start by saying “Let’s talk about specific, measurable results that would improve your bottom line and increase my earnings.” Get any incentive pay agreements in writing during the hiring stage so your employer is committed to following through.

4. Don’t Just Talk Cash

Any discussion of salary should be about your total compensation. If the recruiter isn’t familiar with the dollar value of the benefits package the company is offering, you might ask to talk with their benefits specialist. Remember to negotiate for non-cash perks that might bridge the gap between your asking price and the employer’s offer.

5. Walk through It in Training

One of the best ways to prepare is by practicing. Pick a career coach who can prep you by role playing an entire interview including the salary negotiation phase. This process gives you the confidence to talk money with a potential employer without being afraid you are getting it “wrong”.

Jerome Young is the founder of www.AttractJobsNOW.com, a recruiting and job search consulting firm that has achieved over 100 job search success stories in the last year.


43 Resume Tips That Will Help Get You Hired

When you haven’t updated your resume in a while, it can be hard to know where to start. What experiences and accomplishments should you include for the jobs you’ve got your eye on? What new resume rules and trends should you be following? And seriously, one page or two?

Well, search no more: We’ve compiled the best resume advice out there into one place. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll make sure you craft a winning resume—and help you land a job.

Telling Your Story

1. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don't include all of your experience).

2. Keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you've ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you're crafting each resume, it's just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information.

3. Make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading.

4. Don't include an objective statement at the top of your resume. It's a little bit dated, it takes up valuable space, and—as long as you're tailoring the rest of your resume and cover letter to fit the position—it's unnecessary.

5. There are tons of different types of resumes, but the good old reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) is still your best bet. While you can use skills-based resumes in specific situations, some hiring managers will wonder what you're hiding.

6. Think long and hard before using a two-page resume. If you have enough relevant experience, training, and credentials pertaining to the position to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it. But if you can tell the same story in less space? Do.


7. Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. And make your resume easy on hiring managers’ eyes by using a font size between 10 and 12.

8. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent. (Want a peek at great resumes? Check out our resume makeovers!)

9. You don't need to include your address on your resume anymore (really!), but do include social media links, especially your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle. (Implicit in this is that you keep said social media profiles suitable for prospective employers.)

10. Don't include photos or other distracting visuals. A recent study showed that "such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making" and kept them from "locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience."

11. Using creative resumes—like infographics, videos, or presentations—can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. But don't do this unless you're willing to put in the time, creativity, and design work to make it awesome. A great traditional resume will always be better than a mediocre "creative" one.

Work Experience

12. As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying.

13. No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than 6-7 bullets in a given section. No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.

14. Remember that you should allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. So, if there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one for which you’re applying).

15. Look at each bullet point and make sure it’s understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.

16. Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve this accomplishment.

17. Then, take each statement one step further and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.

18. There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, freelanced, or blogged? Absolutely list these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.

19. If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. Use our handy list of better verbs to mix it up!

20. People hire performers, so no matter what, you want to present yourself as a high performer. You can easily do this by using phrases like, “Invited to…” or “Recognized for…” or “Promoted to…” or “Known for… .”

21. Use keywords in your resume: Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points. Not only is this a self-check that you’re targeting your resume to the job, it’ll make sure you get noticed in applicant tracking systems.

22. Stuck on which words to include? Dump the job description into a tool like Wordle, which will analyze and spit out the most-used keywords.

23. What words shouldn't you include? Detail-oriented, experienced, and people person—these vague terms are chronically overused, and we bet there's a better way to describe how awesome you are.


24. Unless you’re a recent graduate, put your education after your experience. Chances are, your last 1-2 jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job than where you went to college is.

25. Usually, you should lay down your educational background by listing the most recent or advanced degree first, working in reverse chronological order. But if older coursework is more specific to the job, list that first to grab the reviewer’s attention.

26. Don’t list your graduation dates. The reviewer cares more about whether or not you have the degree than when you earned it.

27. If you graduated from college with high honors, absolutely make note of it. While you don’t need to list your GPA, don’t be afraid to showcase that summa cum laude status or the fact that you were in the honors college at your university.

28. If you feel your education section is a little light, load it with continuing education and professional coursework.

Skills, Awards, and Interests

29. Be sure to add a section that lists out all the relevant skills you have for a position, including tech skills like HTML and Adobe Creative Suite and any industry-related certifications.

30. If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own. Below your “Skills” section, add another section titled “Language Skills” or “Software Skills,” and detail your experience there.

31. Feel free to include an “Interests” section on your resume, but only add those that are relevant to the job. Are you a guitar player with your eye on a music company? Definitely include it. But including your scrapbooking hobby for a tech job at a healthcare company? Don't even think about it.

32. Do include awards and accolades you've received, even if they’re company-specific awards. Just state what you earned them for, e.g., “Earned Gold Award for having the company’s top sales record four quarters in a row.”

Gaps and Other Sticky Resume Situations

33. If you stayed at a job for only a matter of months, consider eliminating it from your resume. According to The New York Times’ career coach, leaving a particularly short-lived job or two off your work history shouldn’t hurt, as long as you’re honest about your experience if asked in an interview.

34. If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, don’t list the usual start and end dates for each position. Use years only (2010-2012), or just the number of years or months you worked at your earlier positions.

35. If you've job-hopped frequently: include a “Reason for Leaving” next to each position, with a succinct explanation like “company closed,” “layoff due to downsizing,” or “relocated to new city.” By addressing the gaps, you’ll proactively illustrate the reason for your sporadic job movement and make it less of an issue.

36. Re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus? Top your resume with an “Executive Summary” section at the top, outlining your best skills and accomplishments. Then, get into your career chronology.

37. If you took time out of the workforce to raise kids, don't list your parenting experience on your resume, à la "adeptly managed the growing pile of laundry" (we've seen it). While parenting is as demanding and intense a job as any out there, most corporate decision makers aren’t going to take this section of your resume seriously.

Finishing Touches

38. Ditch the phrase "References available upon request." If a company wants to hire you, it will ask you for references—and it will assume that you have them. There’s no need to address the obvious (and doing so might even make you look a little presumptuous!).

39. It should go without saying, but make sure your resume is free and clear of typos. But don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you (or get some tips on how to edit your own work).

40. If emailing your resume, make sure to always send a PDF rather than a .doc. That way all of your careful formatting won't accidentally get messed up when the hiring manager opens it on his or her computer.

41. If you're applying through an applicant tracking system, stick to a .doc and standard resume formatting in a normal font like Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman—the ATS can’t read fancy fonts and will reject your resume out of confusion.

42. Ready to save your resume and send it off? Save it as “Jane Smith Resume” instead of “Resume.” It’s one less step the hiring manager has to take.

43. Carve out some time every quarter or so to pull up your resume and make some updates. Have you taken on new responsibilities? Learned new skills? Add them in. When your resume is updated on a regular basis, you’re not only ready to pounce when opportunity presents itself, you’ll also be confident that the document is in tip-top shape.

Top 10 Job Interview Tips and Tricks

Do you know how to sell yourself in interview? Have you found yourself freezing up? Have you ever had a question where you have not been able to work out what the interviewer was asking – or you could give an answer, but didn’t know if it was the right one? Here are my top 10 interview tips for this month. As someone said on Twitter, these are not rocket science, but really timely reminders of the basics:

1) Research the organization:

Everyone gets nervous in interview. It’s a big occasion and you should be nervous. However if you start with some thorough research, you start to build a case in your own mind of why you should be sitting in that interview room or in front of a panel. Having some confidence is a solid first step to overcoming nerves.

You can actually tell a lot about an employer from the employment pages of their website. Things such as the values they have, how easy it is to find out about potential jobs and their responses to you when you apply, can all tell you about the way they handle their recruitment. This in turn may be a reflection of what it’s like to work there. If it’s friendly and easy to apply for a job, then chances are they have given some thought to why you would want to work for them.

The web is a such wealth of facts, but what you need to do, is turn this into information. You can look at annual reports, media releases and product and service information. Online directories have company information and Google indexes the latest media news and references from other sources. If a career page has an email contact for an employee, and invites contact, then do it. Often companies will use testimonials that way to attract new people. Use sites such as linked in to research companies.

When you look for this information, you are not just looking for a set of unrelated facts. You should be looking for reasons that you want to work for that employer. You’ll really impress the interviewer if you find some simple yet compelling reasons as to why you want to work for the employer and what appeals to you about the role.

2) Research the role:

One thing that constantly surprises me is that how few people really have any understanding of the role that they are applying for. Job advertisements are partly to blame for this. They are often misleading. The person writing the advert is often not the person that you’ll be reporting to. Things always sound different on paper compared to what you will actually be doing in the role.

One of my clients recently applied for a job in the public sector. The position description said:

Building effective communication strategies with a variety of stakeholders and colleagues to ensure information exchanges are timely, accurate and useful.

This is what this statement meant:

Providing advice to staff and students on the status of their research applications.

If you see something like the above, try to talk to someone who knows about the role. A good question to ask is “what does a typical day/week look like?” Once you know what’s expected of you, preparing for the interview is instantly easier.

Also important is a real insight into the role and the recruitment process. Dig deeper than the advertisement. Put a call through if a contact number is provided. You can find out which of the skills that the employer requires are actually the priority. You can determine what you can do without and importantly you can start to make yourself known (in a good way) to your future employer. Even if the advertisement doesn’t invite it, you can still contact the recruiter. If there are no contact details, be scrupulously polite, it usually means the employers are expecting a deluge of applications.

Ask them questions about the recruitment process, what the steps are, how long each step takes, and whether they’ve had many applicants. You’d be surprised at the information you’ll receive if you sound polite and interested.

3) Research yourself:

Employers want you to be self aware. Have a long hard look at what you have achieved, the way you have achieved that result and the skills you developed or demonstrated along the way.

This type of reflection helps you understand your strengths. It gives you confidence and helps you overcome nerves.

4) Interviewer insight:

No two interview processes are the same. Depending on the organization and the role, you could be interviewed by a recruitment consultant, the HR department, the line manager, all three individually, or any combination. Each will have a different agenda for the interview. This is important to remember as your approach with each should be slightly different.

The recruitment consultant is always the first screener. Their role is to match you to the employer’s requirements and sell you as an applicant. The consultant establishes their credibility with each good candidate they put forward to the employer. Take time to woo them, even if you think they don’t know their stuff (as is a common criticism). Their role is essentially a sales one: to sell you the job and, if they believe you are right for the role, to sell you to their client. Make the consultant’s role easier by focussing on your strengths and achievements and point out why you are a good match.

The HR consultant is usually the recruitment procedural expert. One of their jobs is to ensure the organization meets its legal requirements. They often set up the recruitment process and have a strong attachment to ensuring it is working. It’s a safe bet that you will face a more structured interview from them, than you will from a line manager. They are often the employer’s first screener and may need to sell you further, depending on their position and influence within the organisation.

The line manager will be the person who is most concerned about finding someone for the role. They may be a person down or not meeting their organisation’s objectives by being understaffed. In the interview it will be the line manager who has the greatest sense of urgency about filling the role. Focus on your workplace achievements when fielding their questions. Work hard to build a rapport with them. They will be assessing your fit for their team.

It may sound obvious but treat each interviewer as if they don’t talk to each other and know anything about you. You’d be amazed at how little communication sometimes goes on between each party.

5) Practice:

Most organizations now use behavioural questions – which means they will be expecting you to provide specific examples of where you have demonstrated the skill they are seeking.

I strongly suggest practicing for an interview and seeking professional help. A professional is skilled at drawing examples out of you and finessing the ones you already have. However never rote learn your lines as you can never predict all the recruiter will ask. Memorising answers will make you stressed in the interview if you can’t recall what you want to say. Worse still, you may even be not be answering the questions the interviewer asks.

6) Build rapport:

Be friendly. People like that!

One of the best ways to relax is to assume the interviewer is on your side. Good interviewers are not interested in tripping you up. In fact, most of them are on your side, or are at the very least they will be approaching the interview in a professional manner. It may even help to you to relax if you think of the interviewer as someone who wants you to do your best

7) Give yourself time:

Leave plenty of time to get to the interview. Rushing breeds panic. No matter what excuse you have, lateness is noted. It creates a negative impression and it puts you behind immediately. Allowing waiting time for an interview gives you time to compose yourself, gather your thoughts and be mentally prepared.

8) Please be yourself:

That is please be yourself. You will be doing yourself no favours if you try and suppress your personality, or pretend to be something that you aren’t.

9) Relax:

By: Luke

While you think this may be the perfect job for you, it may be that it’s not. There are other jobs out there. If you keep this in mind then you’ll remove some pressure from yourself that this is your only chance to perform.

If you think the interview is going badly, relax and use it as practice for the next one. You never know, you could even recover if you take this approach.

10) An insider’s tip:

The interview is just the formal means of assessing your suitability as a candidate. However you are not just assessed there. Each interaction you have with your future employer feeds into the bigger picture of their impression of you. Use this knowledge. Be polite and friendly with whomever you meet in the process from the very first phone call to the last goodbye to the receptionist on your way out.


Resume FormatsSeven Keys to a Killer Cover Letter
Most job seekers understand the value and importance of a well-organized resume but spend far less energy on crafting a strong cover letter. What they fail to realize is that their resume and cover letter go hand-in-hand.

Employers are very busy and receive hundreds of resumes leaving little time for individual review. Submitting a thoughtful and well-written cover letter can help you outshine your competition and get you one step closer to an interview. Don’t let the energy you’ve spent on developing the perfect resume go to waste by failing to deliver an effective cover letter.

Here we offer some tips to help you craft the perfect cover letter that will get you noticed:

Cover Letter Key 1. Understand what the Cover Letter Must Achieve
A cover letter is basically a sales letter. You are trying to motivate a specific action - an invitation for an interview. In addition to reinforcing the key skills and experience you reference in your resume, a cover letter provides you with the opportunity to:

  • demonstrate your desire to work for the employer
  • identify specific ways your expertise can benefit the organization
  • differentiate yourself from other job seekers
  • demonstrate your individual personality
  • explain anomalies that may stand out in a resume such as gaps in employment
  • arouse interest that will help you get that interview.

Cover Letter Key 2. Know Your Stuff
Avoid using generic or mass produced cover letters. Each cover letter should be customized for each individual employer and include a statement about why you are attracted to the position and company.

Before you begin writing your cover letter, learn as much as you can about the potential employer. The more you know about an organization, the better you can tailor your cover letter to the firm's needs. Visit the firm's website and scan industry publications so you are up to speed on recent news about the company.

Remember, you want to express what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you. A cover letter must highlight aspects of your experience that are most useful to the potential employer, and you can earn points for knowing what those aspects are.

Cover Letter Key 3. Make it Personal
Often times a job listing does not include the name of the hiring manager. Never begin a cover letter with "to whom it may concern" or “dear hiring manager.” A generic salutation often signals to potential employers that you lack the initiative to locate the appropriate contact.

Instead, call the company directly and explain the position you are applying for to see if you can fill in the blank or take time to research on the internet or in appropriate business periodicals to get the name and title of the hiring official.

Cover Letter Key 4. Be Strong, Confident and Professional
A good cover letter begins with a powerful, clearly written opening paragraph. Your goal is to briefly describe how you heard about the position and why you're interested in it. If you're replying to an advertisement mentioning a code or job number, refer to this in your cover letter as well as any information specifically requested in the ad that may not be addressed in your resume such as an availability date or a writing sample.

Your tone should be confident without being arrogant. Avoid attempts to be "cute" or "catchy" in your opening. Gimmicky attempts to gain attention can appear insincere. It is best to keep your letter polished and professional as well as interesting and visually appealing. Mention only positive things and be formal, yet friendly and open.

Cover Letter Key 5. Highlight what is Most Relevant
A cover letter should be brief and to the point. It should be no longer than one page - perhaps 3 or 4 paragraphs - and should include your signature. Recruiters are pressed for time and often only have time to skim through applications. Use statistics, highlighted statements, or bullets to make sure that vital information can be easily spotted.

Make sure that the messaging in your letter is consistent with the information included in your resume. Your cover letter should not be a laundry list of items from your resume. Instead, highlight skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job opening and provide concrete examples of the skills, training, and/or experiences that are the basis for your confidence.

Cover Letter Key 6. Check Grammar and Spelling
The smallest grammatical error on your part can call your professionalism and attention to detail into question thereby discouraging a hiring manager from contacting you for an interview. Always spell-check your document and ask friends and family members to proof read your letter before sending it to any potential employer.

Cover Letter Key 7. Follow Up
In addition to expressing gratitude for the hiring manager's time and interest, close your letter by outlining your next steps. Be proactive by stating when you will contact him or her to follow up. And don't forget to include a phone number or e-mail address where you can be reached in case the firm wants to get in touch with you first.

Be sure to follow up with the employer via phone or email in 2-3 weeks if you have not heard from them. In your follow-up email, reiterate your interest in the position, ask about the status of your application and ask if they need any further information from you.


Source : http://www.salary.com/Articles/ArticleDetail.asp?part=par2613